As the 2015 National Lacrosse League regular season winds down and the playoff madness ramps up, NLL rookies might be called upon to use their youth and fresh legs to provide a spark in the run for the Champion’s Cup. Which first-year pros are making noise this time of year? Check out a preview of the NLL Rookie Report after Week 16 on IL Indoor below.
“The Edmonton Rush had the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 entry draft, and they made no secret about their desire for Ben McIntosh. And now, you know why,” IL Indoor writes. “The forward out of Coquitlam has been a steady and effective offensive force for the Rush all season, never scoring fewer than 3 points in a game all season. And after his 8-point game on Saturday, he’s not only in firm control of the rookie scoring race with 75 points, he’s threatening Rhys Duch’s rookie scoring record of 89 points (2009).
“McIntosh is 14 points shy of the mark with 2 games remaining, both on the road to Minnesota and Colorado. He’s got a combined 11 points in 3 games against these 2 sides this season, but all of those games were played before Feb. 15 so you’d like to think he’s found his groove as the season went along. And with 25 points in his last 5 games, it’s tough to refute that. Even if McInosh doesn’t set the rookie record, his has been a season of remarkable consistency and it’s clear that he’s the favorite to win Rookie of the Year honors for 2015.”
1) Ben McIntosh (Edmonton Rush): The right-handed forward out of Coquitlam had 3 goals and 5 assists in Saturday’s home win over Colorado to help the Rush clinch the West Division. Five of his points (2-3) came in the third quarter and he continues to be the front-runner for Rookie of the Year honors by leading the rookie scoring race with 75 points (33-42).
2) Miles Thompson (Minnesota Swarm): The right-handed forward out of Onondaga Nation was held to 2 assists and 0 goals on 12 shots in Saturday’s home loss to Calgary. He scooped 2 loose balls and forced 1 turnover in displaying his all-around game for a team that’s not heading to the playoffs. He’s No. 2 in team scoring with 54 points (23-31).
3) Jeremy Noble (Colorado Mammoth): The right-handed forward out of Orangeville, Ontario, had 2 goals and 2 assists in Friday’s home win over Rochester. In 2 games against the team that drafted him, Noble has 7 points (3-4). The he added 6 points (1-5) in Saturday’s road loss to Edmonton, giving him an impressive 37 points (12-25) in 8 games. That projects to an 83-point season for 18 games.
4) Robert Hope (Colorado Mammoth): The left-handed defenseman out of Peterborough had 1 assist, scooped a pair of loose balls and forced 1 turnover in Friday’s home win over Rochester. He scooped 4 loosies and forced a turnover in Saturday’s road loss to Edmonton.
5) Eli McLaughlin (Colorado Mammoth): The left-handed forward out of Surrey, B.C., scored 1 goal in Friday’s home win over Rochester and it turned out to be the winning goal just 3:39 into the fourth quarter. He was scoreless on 2 shots in Saturday’s road loss to Edmonton.
8) Sheldon Burns (New England Black Wolves): The right-handed defenseman out of Whitby scored his second NLL goal and first since Jan. 30 in Friday’s road loss to Toronto. He also scooped a team-high 11 LBs and forced 5 turnovers.
9) Colton Porter (Colorado Mammoth): The right-handed defenseman out of Maple Ridge, B.C., made his NLL debut this weekend, picking up an assist and 5 LBs in Friday’s home win over Rochester. Then he scooped 5 loosies and forced a turnover in Saturday’s road loss to Edmonton.
The rest of the rooks: Minnesota F Shane MacDonald was scoreless on 3 shots but scooped 4 loose balls in Minnesota’s home loss to Calgary on Saturday … Colorado D Mike Woods forced 2 turnovers in Friday’s home win over Rochester and had 4 loose balls in Saturday’s road loss to Edmonton … Minnesota F Sam Bradman played his first game since March 15 and scored his first NLL goal in Saturday’s home loss to Calgary … Colorado F Mike Burke scored his first goal since March 29 in Saturday’s road loss to Edmonton … Colorado G Alexis Buque came on in relief to make 17 saves in 27-plus minutes but was still…